Professionalism Through Education

Twenty years ago last fall, members attending the 1986 PHCC Annual Meeting and Convention in San Francisco approved the formation of the PHCC Educational Foundation. The leaders of the Foundation envisioned a partnership of industry contractors, manufacturers and wholesalers with a common purpose - to improve the industry and help contractors develop their business skills.

The visionary first leaders of the Foundation paved the way for its success by establishing a solid financial base to work from. Through strong fundraising efforts, a permanent endowment fund was established and then wisely invested. Policies and spending formulas were carefully set to provide funding for programs, while protecting the endowment so that it would be able to support the Foundation’s work for generations to come. Investment earnings from the endowment, combined with funds raised through the Invest in Your Future Annual Giving Campaign, are what support the Foundation’s educational program efforts today.

With its funding in place and the backing of strong supporters, the PHCC Educational Foundation quickly established itself as a leading provider of education and training for the plumbing and HVACR industry. For the last 20 years, the Foundation has been helping contractors improve the way they do business through a host of educational offerings.

The Foundation Board of Governors visits the NIBCO manufacturing facility in Stuart's Draft, Va.

Today, the Foundation has a wide variety of well-established programs. The Foundation partners with the PHCC National Auxiliary to help guide young people into careers within the industry. The Foundation also has a scholarship program to help individuals participating in apprentice training programs or studying industry-related majors in two-year and four-year certificate and degree programs. With the support of contractors and industry partners, the Foundation is now able to award more than $100,000 in scholarships annually. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.35 million in scholarship awards.

Once young people have made the decision to work in the industry, the Foundation offers programs to support their training. In 2005, PHCC asked the Foundation to accept responsibility for developing and supporting plumbing and HVACR apprentice training materials. To date, the first- and second-year plumbing manuals have been revised and published, and a committee of subject matter experts has just completed revising the third yearbook. In 2006, more than 3,300 students across the country used the plumbing apprentice manuals. The revised HVACR manuals now are being developed and the first two books will be available in early 2008. In addition, the Foundation has led a joint effort with other industry trade associations to host an annual workshop for instructors of apprentice and school-based plumbing and HVACR training programs. By joining forces with like-minded industry partners, the Foundation has fostered better cooperation within the industry.

The PHCC Educational Foundation offers educational seminars for contractors and business owners, as well as an online library of business management information.

The Foundation has offered quality business management programs for contractors and their employees from the beginning. Programs have been developed to support the needs of contractors with small, mid-size and large businesses. Work in the 1980s focused on providing business owners with safety seminars, manuals and business management tools for their companies. Videotaped training programs on understanding overhead, marketing and financial statements followed in the early 1990s.


The Foundation’s training programs took a leap forward in 1996 with the development of a project management boot camp. Over the last 10 years, this intensive training program has helped more than 500 employees learn how to more effectively manage projects. The Foundation’s Essentials of Project Management Course and business owner training programs will continue to teach sound management practices to contractors and their employees in the coming years.

Kirk Alter teaches attendees the essentials of project management.

Seminars always have played a role in the Foundation’s training efforts. Early seminars on understanding finances and estimating with the Foundation’s Labor Calculator led to the creation of a formal Seminar Series program in 1999. By consistently providing great event support and securing the industry’s best speakers, the Foundation established itself as a dependable resource for PHCC chapters and other industry organizations looking for excellent seminar programs. Since 1999, the Seminar Series has reached well over 7,500 contractors and their employees.


In recent years, the Foundation has continued to seek ways to bring quality education to the contractor’s doorstep. This effort found a new path in 2001 with the establishment of the Foundation’s Online Contractor Resource Center. This Web-based library of business management information has grown to include more than 250 publications and online seminars aimed at business owners and their staff. Nearly 72,000 visitors benefited from the site in 2006. The Web site address is

Since 1999, the Foundation has taken a leadership role in providing educational seminars and keynote speakers at PHCC national conventions. More recently, the Foundation has been responsible for organizing business management and other top-quality seminars presented during the ISH North America Trade Show. By taking charge of organizing contractor seminars and sponsoring keynote speakers, the Foundation has put the power of its offerings in the hands of the thousands of contractors attending these industry events.

The Foundation was established through the collective efforts and generosity of contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers and other industry partners. This collaboration has strengthened over the years and has led to recent partnerships striving to establish better communications throughout the supply channel. Today, new Foundation programs address cutting-edge issues like sustainable construction and helping experienced field personnel define their role as an integral part of the project management team.

For 20 years, the PHCC Educational Foundation has been fulfilling its mission to provide quality education to contractors and the industry. Mindful of the future and a changing workforce, it continues to seek new ways to deliver the professional training that will help contractors thrive in a competitive marketplace.

2007 Foundation Program Sponsors

American Standard
A.O. Smith
Bradford White Corp.
Cerro Flow Products
Delta Faucet Co.
Estimation Inc.
Kohler Co.